How many entrepreneurs does it take to switch out some CFL’s? Well….it depends on how many other windows they have open. Everyone says you should work smart, not work hard. Great advice, of course, but the devil’s in the details. How?

Do you ever come home from work feeling drained, tired, and mentally fatigued, but yet you also have this eerie feeling that….you didn’t get anything done? It’s quite common. Many people make the mistake of thinking that this has something to do with their chosen occupation, and that they really should ‘do something with their hands’ so they can actually see the fruits of their labor.

The problem is not with the work itself, but with getting our work done in a world full of distractions. Between our Blackberries, office phones, a steady stream of emails that come in and endless CC:ing, we can literally spend our entire days communicating and in a constant state of nebulosity. The key, which is part of the curriculum for our free upcoming web class entitled “Introduction to Green Entrepreneurship” (Registration info below), is to focus on the task at hand. Easier said than done, right? Not so. Here are some simple ways to make your work day feel productive and efficient, and to come home rested and feeling satisfied with your efforts.

1. Have power-hours. At my office, we’ve chosen to have the odd number hours be times in which meetings can’t be scheduled, and in which if we have a question for one of our office mates, we write it down instead of going to their desk and asking them. We also unplug our phone and close email for those hours and focus on one particular task–a proposal, a job we’re working on, a webpage we’re editing, etc. Believe me, getting those things conclusively done will help you avoid that feeling of going home after work and wondering what happened to the last 8 hours of your life.

2. Frame in your email. Instead of steadily answering emails as they come in, close your inbox entirely except for 2-3 apportioned times per day. During those times, you send and read all your emails that are important. At other times, you jot down an email you need to send rather than opening your inbox to send it. Too many distractions await.

3. Be concise with your conversations. Because of the ease of email communications, chains and CC/BCC conversations have simply overwhelmed many an inbox. Instead of continuing the conversation, aim to be concise and clear enough to finish the conversation so that no one is tempted to continue it.

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About The Author

Scott Cooney

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

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